In a major climb-down, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has sought 200 Mw of power from the Centre, in lieu of the scrapping of three major hydel projects in the hill state, to meet the growing shortfall.
Bahuguna, who called on Union minister of state for power (independent charge) Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia at the national capital yesterday, urged him to make available 200 Mw round the clock power to Uttarakhand on account of the closure of three hydro-power projects – 480 Mw Pala Maneri, 380 Mw Bhairon Ghati and 600 Mw Loharinag Pala. All the three projects were scrapped by the centre in view of environmental and religious concerns.
In this regard, Bahuguna also pointed out that the state was also facing acute shortage of power due to increase in demand at the rate of 10-15 percent per year.
This is being seen a big climb-down on the stand taken by the former BJP government which had sought 2000 Mw of free power from the centre in lieu of the three projects. In this regard, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had met the then power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to put up the demand of 2000 Mw of free power in 2010.
Bahuguna while mentioning Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) flagship scheme said that it had provision for electrification of habitations having population 100 and above. He said that as Uttarakhand was hilly and thinly populated state for which the norms may be relaxed to population of 50 and above for the hill areas of Uttarakhand.
Bahuguna, meanwhile, pointing out that R-APDRP scheme was presently applicable to towns having population of 10,000 and above said that most of the towns in Uttarakhand were below this benchmark. He urged Scindia to relax the population norm to 5,000 and above so that the benefits of the scheme might be derived by more number of towns in Uttarakhand.
The chief minister also urged the union minister to allocate gas for running gas-based power plants.